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Sydney horseman Joe Pride is putting aside a trial loss from his Group 1 winning veteran Tiger Tees this week and focusing on getting the eight-year-old ready for a first-up run in the Expressway Stakes 2016.
Winner of the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) back in 2014, Pride’s Dubawi gelding Tiger Tees trialled over 760 metres at Hawksbury on Monday but failed to win the hit-out.
The trial was won narrowly by 74-start country veteran Path To Freedom by a nose with Tiger Tees second past the post.
A big four and a half-length margin separated him and unraced stablemate Penny Fling, the three-year-old filly running third in her third official trial ahead of her debut.
Pride was quick to forgive the trial loss saying Tiger Tees was never the best performer in hit-outs, but always managed to rise on race day.
“He seems to know the difference between race day and trial day,” Pride told Racenet.
“He was just his normal self this morning and he probably only just got a pass mark but that’s all he ever does in his trials.
“He’s a quirky horse, one of the strangest I’ve trained but a good one.”
Tiger Tees was last seen running second last when eighth, beaten just over two lengths, to Delectation in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight in early November during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The horse hasn’t won since his one and a quarter length success over Chris Waller’s Group 1 winning mare Royal Descent in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) in the wet in August of 2014.
Since then the old horse has finished in the money just once, form Pride hopes he can atone for and improve on during his latest campaign.
Boasting a strong first-up record of five wins and two seconds from 11 resuming runs to date, Tiger Tees will be out to add to that when he kicks off his next prep at the end of the month.
Pride is looking at the $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 30, a weight-for-age sprint won last year by Chris Waller’s subsequent Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) runner-up Weary.
After the Expressway Stakes Tiger Tees is likely to head towards a third run in The Galaxy on March 19, also run at Rosehill Racecourse.
Also heading towards a Group 1 autumn run are the fellow Pride-trained Terravista, a half-brother to Tiger Tees, and Ball Of Muscle who is a full brother to the veteran galloper also being by Dubawi from Parfore.
Pride has the duo tracking towards the $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) in Melbourne at Flemington Racecourse on February 20.
They will shape up for the 2016 Black Caviar Lightning with a Warwick Farm trial at home in Sydney on February 8.
“Terravista is definitely going to the Lightning and I’m not sure about Ball Of Muscle yet but the race does look like it is falling away a little bit,” Pride said.
Captain Rio six-year-old Terravista is best known for his 2014 Darley Classic win, a race he ran third to last time out on November 7 when beaten just a long neck in a blanket finish.
Last spring’s Darley Classic runner-up Chautauqua is also confirmed for a shot at the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
A $3.4 million earner trained by Hawkes Racing, the five-year-old son of Encosta De Lago is a dual Group 1 winner after more elite level success this time in.
Ball Of Muscle meanwhile was last seen running third in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) on October 17, the five-year-old yet to finish out of the money boasting a record of eight wins, six seconds and three thirds from 17 starts between 900 – 1200m.
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